How to Safely Get Up and Down From the Floor

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Why Being Able Getting Up and Down From the Floor is So Important

Woman lying on her back on exercise mat, side view
John Freeman / Getty Images

How easy is it for you to get up and down from the floor? The answer to that question may depend on a few things - Your age, how many injuries you've had and, of course, whether there's something down there that's really that important.

If it's hard or painful, you may avoid doing it, but it's an important skill to have, especially when we get older. It's so important that our ability to do so is actually a measure of our fitness and longevity. Getting up and down from the floor calls on almost every area of fitness and every part of our bodies: Balance, core strength, lower body strength, flexibility and coordination.

If you have any issues in those areas, say you don't have much flexibility in your hips or your balance is wobbly, it may be a difficult challenge. You can always use a chair or some other support, but it's a good idea to practice getting up and down without anything around but your own body.

If you feel shaky, it may seem impossible, but there is a safe way to get up and down from the floor, whatever your situation. Taking it step by step and practicing it on a regular basis, can help you master this important skill.

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Step 1: Stand on Your Strong Leg, Step Back with Your Weaker Leg

Paige Waehner

  1. Determine your strongest leg, often our dominant side, and put all your weight on that leg.
  2. Step the other foot back about 1-3 feet, so that you're in a staggered stance. Hold onto a chair if you need to, but try to work your way up so that you don't need the chair.
  3. Rest your hands on the upper thigh of the front leg in preparation for the next step.
  4. This is the first balance challenge, so brace your core to give your body more stability.
  5. Once you feel stable, move on to the next step.

Exercises to Improve your Balance and Strength at This Stage

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Step 2: Kneel on the Floor

Paige Waehner

  1. With your strong leg forward, other leg back, use your hands on the upper thigh of front leg as support as you bend the back knee and lower it to the floor.
  2. Engage your abs and use the strength of your arms and thigh to brace the body, allowing the knee to come to the floor gently, instead of falling too hard.
  3. Again, you can use a chair if you need to, but try to work your way up to using just your own body.
  4. This is the second balance challenge, so continue to brace your core to give your body more stability.
  5. Once you feel stable, move on to the next step.

Exercises to Improve your Balance and Strength at This Stage

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Step 3: Take One Hand to the Floor for Support

Paige Waehner

  1. From the kneeling position, keep the hand braced on the upper thigh while you take the other hand to the floor, next to the front foot.
  2. This is where you need hip and back flexibility. If you're tight, you may need to adjust the front foot, taking it further out to the side for example, to make this more comfortable.
  3. Use your abs here as a support for your spine as you get ready for the next step.

Exercises to Improve your Balance and Strength at This Stage

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Step 4: Get on All Fours

Paige Waehner

  1. From the last position, with one hand down, your next step is to take the front knee back so that you're in an all-fours position.
  2. If you have flexibility issues, you may need to 'help' that front leg by grabbing onto your ankle or calf and moving the leg back into position. As you practice, this move should get easier.
  3. When you're in position, both hands should be directly under the shoulders, both knees directly under the hips.
  4. Make sure to keep your core engaged here as well. It will help you with your balance and stability.

Exercises to Improve your Balance and Strength at This Stage

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Step 5: Lean onto The Hip and Settle on the Floor

Paige Waehner

  1. From the previous all-fours position, you can now rotate the body to one side, whichever side is comfortable for you, taking the side of the hip to the floor and settle down.
  2. You can bend the knees and rest on the hip if that's comfortable, or you can keep going until you're sitting flat on your backside.
  3. Now you're ready for whatever you want to do on the floor.
  4. Whenever you're ready to stand back up, you can reverse the procedure.

Practice these movements on a regular basis, as well as the suggested exercises, to get stronger and more fluid at getting up and down from the floor. You'll find that being able to do this easily will make other daily activities easier as well.

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Get Back Up From the Floor

Paige Waehner

To get back up, reverse the procedure:

  1. Get onto all fours
  2. Bring the strong leg forward, knee bent, opposite hand on the floor for balance.
  3. Lift up, placing both hands on the front quad.
  4. Turn the back toes under and push your hands into the quad, using the strength of the thigh and upper body to push back to a standing position.
  5. Bring back foot in, stand tall and repeat as many times as you can.

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